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Illinois Library Association Announces Main Speakers for 2021 Annual Conference (Online Oct. 12-14)

(via the Illinois Library Association)

An award-winning author and writer for a nationally renowned magazine, a cartoonist, editor, and professor, a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Librarian, and the American Library Association’s 10th Executive Director are among the speakers for the 2021 ILA Annual Conference.

The Conference will be virtual this year–from Tuesday, October 12, to Thursday, October 14–and registration will open very soon. (Check the Conference website for updates.) In the meantime, please keep reading to learn more about the phenomenal speakers we have lined up!

Keynote Speaker – Clint Smith

Clint Smith is staff writer at The Atlantic. He is the author of Counting Descent, which won the 2017 Literary Award for Best Poetry Book from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award.

Clint has received fellowships from New America, the Art For Justice Fund, Cave Canem, and the National Science Foundation. His writing has been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Poetry Magazine, The Paris Review and elsewhere.

He currently teaches writing and literature at the DC Central Detention Facility. His debut nonfiction book How the Word Is Passed, which explores how different historical sites reckon with–or fail to reckon with–their relationship to the history of slavery, will be published by Little, Brown in June 2021. He received his B.A. in English from Davidson College and his Ph.D. in Education from Harvard University.

The keynote will be held during the opening general session from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM CDT on Tuesday, October 12.

President’s Program Speaker – Tracie D. Hall

In February 2020, Tracie D. Hall was appointed the American Library Association’s 10th executive director in its 143-year history. In her new role, Hall oversees the oldest and largest library association in the world, made up of 57,000 members and more than 200 staffers.

Hall is the first female African American executive director in ALA’s history. Upon Hall’s appointment ALA President Wanda K. Brown observed that “Her unique combination of philanthropy and library know-how position her to be the leader ALA needs today.

She is optimistic, energizing, and innovative, qualities that will serve the association well as it continues its investments in advocacy, development, and information technology.

The President’s Program will be held from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM CDT on Wednesday, October 13.

Youth and Young Adult Keynote – Steenz

Steenz is a St. Louis based cartoonist, editor, and professor. She’s the cartoonist on the syndicated comic strip ‘Heart Of The City’, the co-creator of Dwayne McDuffie award-winning GN Archival Quality, and is featured in short story anthologies such as Eisner and Ignatz award-winning Elements: Fire, Mine!, and Dead Beats. Steenz launched and edited the popular RPG periodical Rolled & Told

She participates in and creates community building comics related programming, and is a frequent panelist at comic cons. Steenz currently teaches cartooning at Webster University while editing titles from Mad Cave Studios. She lives with her husband, two cats, and watches a lot of esoteric social documentaries.

The Youth and Young Adult Keynote will be held from 10:00 to 11:00 AM on Wednesday, October 13.

DiversiTEA Speaker – Twanna K. Hodge 

Twanna Hodge (she/her) is the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Librarian at the University of Florida Libraries. She holds an MLIS from the University of Washington.

Her research and professional interests include diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility issues and efforts in the workplace and LIS curriculum, library residencies and fellowships, cultural humility, and the retention of underrepresented and BIPOC library staff in librarianship.

She is the National Conference of African American Librarians (NCAAL) XI Conference Programming Committee co-chair, the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) 2021 Scholarship Committee, co-chair, and more. She is a 2013 Spectrum Scholar and 2018 ALA Emerging Leader.

DiversiTEA will be held from 3:00 to 4:00 PM on Wednesday, October 13.

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